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Move over Bixby, Google Assistant is coming to Samsung’s TVs next year

Well, Google Assistant is superior…

samsung tv with google assistant on wooden table
Image: Consumer Reports

Here’s some news we didn’t expect – Samsung is reportedly getting ready to announce a partnership with Google to add Google Assistant to next year’s TV ranges. Also on the cards – a bigger focus on audio quality and improvements to its TV Plus streaming service.

Sources close to the project told Variety that the announcement might come as early as next month, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

This would be a pretty significant change for the Korean manufacturing giant, which only recently added its own Bixby voice assistant to its 2018 range of TVs. Samsung has been trying to compete with the powerhouses of Alexa and Google Assistant by putting Bixby in everything it makes, from dishwashers to smart speakers.

Bixby is trailing behind, with no support for third-party integrations (currently, it’s in the works), and Samsung only just recently allowed manufacturers to add Bixby to their own devices.

Bixby is still young

Still, it’s a fledgling voice assistant, where its competitors have been around longer. DJ Koh, Samsung’s President, has likened Bixby to a baby, wanting to “not want to see just six months or nine months performance, no. Because this is like a long journey; it’s just starting because, with the new Bixby embedded in the Note 9, a new baby was born.” I can see Bixby learning from what other developers create with it, and even maybe by interacting with the other major players.

In looking at TVs from Samsung’s competitors, like LG or TCL, we can see how the Google Assistant voice assistant integration might work. For example, on LG TVs, things like universal search are handled by LG’s software, while the Google Assistant can be called to control smart home devices or check things like the weather or calendar appointments.

This gives the best of both worlds, with access to all of Google’s information-giving power, while not having to develop those functions in-house. It also lets Samsung take advantage of the smart speakers people may already own to control Samsung TVs that don’t already have a microphone inside.

Improved audio quality in Samsung TVs

Audio quality will also be a big push for Samsung. TV speakers are pretty meh at the best of times, so they’ll be looking at ways to improve on this. One possible way is technology that mimics the way that speakers like Apple’s HomePod or Sonos’ range adapts the audio qualities to work better in the room they’re placed in. This will probably only be on Samsung’s high-end sets.

Variety cites some recent trademarks that Samsung filed as evidence of this, including one for “audio spatial intelligence,” one for “volume intelligence,” and one for “audio scenic intelligence.”

We’ll find out for sure soon, CES is right around the corner and that’s the traditional time for the next year’s crop of TV announcements.

What do you think? Do you use Bixby? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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